Friday’s Fave Five #54

FFF daisies

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

I’m heading off to a ladies’ retreat is a little while but wanted to post some very special blessings of the week.

Some of you know that we live near Edmonton, Alberta. We are five hours south of Fort McMurray, where horrendous wildfires have damaged or destroyed much of the city and surrounding area.

A young couple from Fort Mac were looking forward to their wedding this month. They, like almost 90,000 other people, evacuated their homes to wait out the fire in the Edmonton area. Then they learned that they (and thousands of other people) had lost everything to the raging inferno. Everything except the Lord, each other, and a promised future together. They didn’t want to wait any longer and decided to get married right away.

The couple were married by their own pastor last night in a simple backyard ceremony The community joined together to provide many of the things the couple would need to marry. Here’s the story: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/fort-mcmurray-couple-gets-surprise-wedding-in-edmonton-1.3569538

So today I am grateful for joy in the midst of sadness.

I am also proud to be an Albertan. People all across the province are reaching out to those in need, housing strangers, driving gas and water to those stranded while fleeing the fire, donating to the Red Cross, providing food, clothing and temporary shelter to many who have lost their earthly goods.

I am also grateful for the many firefighters and other officials who are working tirelessly to try and preserve as much of Fort Mac and other surrounding communities as possible in the face of an ever-growing fire. I am grateful for firefighters and other workers who have come from other provinces (and maybe even other countries) to lend a hand.

I am grateful today for my family. One of my daughters had surgery yesterday and had a good sleep last night. The rest of the family, and many friends have helped, encouraged, and supported her.

I am grateful for the earthly goods God has entrusted to me. In light of the unexpected loss so many have endured, I pray I will be more focused on a godly stewardship of all my ‘things.’

I am grateful for the one thing which never can be taken away, burned up, stolen or changed, my salvation from sin through the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

Last week not much of this was on my horizon. Certainly not the terrible fire. We don’t know what a day will bring forth. Find the blessings in your life and be thankful for them.

Friday’s Fave Five #47

FFF daisies

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

I stepped away from writing for several months for personal reasons. Today I want to resume the FFF and share some blessings from the past few weeks.

1. One of our daughters was married on February 27. It was a beautiful wedding with a peacock colours theme. We love our new son-in-law and are enjoying getting to better know his wonderful family. (Thanks, Nicole VandeKamp for this picture of the entire wedding party!)

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2. Our son, who lives and teaches in China, was able to come for the month of February (during the Chinese New Year break) and stay with us to help prepare for the wedding. His wife stayed behind for some intensive language study, but the kids got to come with their dad. Normally the whole family stays with us for a few weeks every summer so it was a special treat to have them with us in winter. Though we had unusually warm weather this entire winter, there was still some snow for the kids to enjoy. They loved playing in the snow!

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3. As wonderful and joyous as weddings are, wedding planning, preparation, and participation are exhausting! This past week we were able to get away for a few days to our friend’s cabin a couple of hours south of us. It’s in the middle of a large farming area where just about all that’s available nearby is peace and quiet. Exactly what we needed! My dear husband sacrificed some of his time to drive me around so I could get some photos of rural Alberta.

01 Mountain view near Sundre - Copy

02 Mountain view near Sundre 3-16

05 Torrington area fence 2

06 Torrington area fence line

10 Torrington 3-16

09 Torrington abandon

12 Near Three Hills

08 Near Olds 2 (2)

07 Torrington community hall

11 West of Torrington

04 Torrington ice fog 3-1603 Near Olds 2

14 Torrington sunset 3-7-16 2

13 Torrington sunset 3-7-16

15 Torrington sunset 3-8-16

4. Because of my arthritis and fibromyalgia, ice is my enemy. Winters in central Alberta tend to be very icy. We have thoroughly enjoyed extraordinarily warm weather this winter, reminiscent of the welcomed Chinooks we so appreciated while living in Calgary. Today it’s 10 C (about 50 F) and ice everywhere is melting furiously. Yay to banished ice!

5. Our youngest daughter has completed her current phase of education and returned to us last month after her studies in China. It’s fun to have her home for a while. We are looking forward to seeing how God leads and provides for her and for each of our other children in future days.

It seems too early, but I have been reminded that we need to turn our clocks ahead this Saturday night. I don’t want to be late for church!!